Did your child experience a school trauma such as a natural disaster, bullying, or exposure to violence? If so, he or she may be struggling to recover and may require extra support and therapy to arrive at a place of healing and peace. Keep reading to learn what you can do as a parent to help your child.
What Is School Trauma?
A school trauma can be any event, experience, or set of circumstances occurring at an educational institution that is distressing or disturbing to a student. The trauma may be related to any of the following:
- Bullying or cyberbullying
- School shooting or other in-school violence
- Systemic injustices such as racism or homophobia
After experiencing any of these situations, the student may have traumatic stress that can lead to long-term mental health and physical health consequences. Some symptoms of trauma include:
- Panic or anxiety disorders
- Low self-esteem
- Fear or excessive worry
- Angry outbursts
- Irritability and moodiness (can look like whining in younger children)
- Emotional numbing
- Pulling away from friends
- Dramatic changes in behavior
How to Help a Child Who Has Experienced Trauma at School
No matter the age, a child should have extra support and even professional help from a qualified, licensed therapist to work through and recover from the traumatic experience. While it can be common for parents to try to smooth over hurt feelings and help them to move on as quickly as possible, this can actually lead the child to feel invalidated.
A sense of invalidation can develop into intense feelings of isolation, rage, and resentment. Talking about it, even when it’s difficult, is a way to give the child the most effective opportunity for healing.
Tips to Help a Child Recover from Trauma at School
To provide the best support and interventions for a child who has experienced trauma, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- If bullying is the issue, learn as much information as you can from the child and then approach the school. Never blame the child or tell them to ignore the bullying.
- Practice good listening skills to help your child feel heard.
- Help the child feel safe through physical affection and reassuring words.
- Remain calm—do not discuss any anxiety you have with your child.
- Maintain your child’s routines. In the chaos and confusion, a routine will help your child to feel more secure.
- Encourage your child to have fun through special activities and times with friends and family. Fun can be a healthy distraction and provides a sense of normalcy during a difficult time.
- Find a trustworthy therapist who has experience helping children through trauma. While your role is essential, the situation likely requires another level of professional therapy and support that you are unable to provide.
Reach Out To Positive Living Psychotherapy
If you are looking for additional resources or therapy to help your child work through and recover from school trauma, our experienced, licensed therapists at Positive Living Psychotherapy are here for you. Connect with us online now to schedule an appointment.